Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chair and CEO Janno Lieber joined pro-transit advocates and elected leaders in support of congestion pricing in Union Square on Friday, May 12.
A transcript of his remarks appears below.
MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber: We're at an important milestone in the federal environmental review process. But New Yorkers want to know, what does this mean? And the answer is less congestion, better air quality, safer streets, better transit. That's what this policy means. That's what congestion pricing is gonna deliver.
It's not that complicated. Whatever state you're from, it's not that complicated to understand. Why is this important? It's important for New York. For all those reasons. But it's also important because New York leads. We see problems, we address problems. We don't wait for others.
The coalition behind me, the pro transit coalition isn't just for transit, for air quality. They’re a let's do something coalition. And what we're up against is the head in the sand coalition of people who say let's not deal with our problems. Let's pretend climate change doesn't exist. Let's stand still like a bus in the middle of traffic in Midtown Manhattan. That's what we're up against. But that's not New York. New York leads, and I am so proud. I'm gonna keep it short. But I am so proud to stand with elected officials and community organizations and activists who have made sure that coming out of COVID we had the right priorities, that we're dealing with issues of equity in our city that everybody can get to a job, that everybody can get to education, that people have opportunity because there's mass transit. It's the one thing that keeps New York affordable, mass transit.
Congestion pricing is going to invest in people and not invest in cars. It's going to protect people who are in our city from getting hit by cars, safer streets. It's going to make sure that kids in the Bronx don't have asthma at higher rates, better air quality.
And it's going to make sure that as we move forward, that, actually, the people who have to come to the city in a vehicle actually have less congestion, that you can move around. And that's important to our economy. Don't forget, what's congestion doing to us? Ambulances can't get to hospitals. Police can't get to crimes in progress. Fire trucks can't get to fires.
You want to do something? Hell yes, we're going to do something about it. That's what congestion pricing is. So, I'm looking forward. We are determined to fight through the remaining process. There's always more bureaucratic process, but let's not be confused. We're going to get there. And one way we're going to reduce congestion is when politicians from out of state stop driving to New York to hold press conferences, right. We're going to get there. God bless every one of these groups and activists who have helped to make this possible. Thank you.
The following advocates and groups participated in the event:
Regional Plan Association President and CEO Tom Wright
New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe
NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez
Rep. Jerry Nadler
NYS Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal
NYC Comptroller Brad Lander
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine
NYC Council Member Lincoln Restler
Assembly Member Bobby Carroll
MTA Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee Chair Andrew Albert
Tri-State Transportation Campaign Director of Climate and Equity Policy Jaqi Cohen
Riders Alliance Deputy Director Caitlin Pierce
Bike JC Trustee Tyler Newcomb
Environmental Defense Fund NY-NJ State Director Mary Barber
Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) Chief Communications Officer Sam Spokony
Move NY Campaign Director Alex Matthiessen
Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris
Families for Safe Streets Member Hindy Schachter
Open Plans Director of Advocacy Jackson Chabot